The Way You Instruct an Athlete Can Change Their Physical Output...

External Focus of Attention


This week on the blog we’re talking ‘External Focus of Attention’ and it might just change how you coach!


You’ve probably used this method before, and maybe you noticed how it made a difference in your athletes, but do you know why? Have you applied it to other instances?


External Focus of Attention is when the athlete focuses on something externally in order to increase performance (maximum strength, muscular contractions, etc.). An example of external focus of attention in order to increase the height of an athletes set would be to tell them to explode through their legs by pushing through the floor and reaching to the ceiling. The external focus being the floor and ceiling. Studies have shown this type of instruction appears to improve the coordination of the movement.



This instruction with internal focus of attention might sound like; explode through your legs and drive your arms up, lifting your shoulders.


An important and interesting finding about EFA is it has been shown to enhance the rate of motor learning. Motor learning is something we talk about a lot here on the Cheer District blog, and is important to better understand in order to increase speed of skill acquisition.




NOTE: Motor learning is also increased when fatigue does not exist.


We would be remiss to not note that there are benefits of internal focus of attention (mind-muscle connection), however, not in a way that is most optimal for our sport. The research shows that although there is more muscle activated with an internal focus of attention, the output is not necessarily increased. Overtime, the muscle hypertrophy will be increased with internal focus of attention, but for the purposes of our sport being performance driven NOT aesthetic driven, an external focus of attention will be a more beneficial method of coaching.


Next time you’re coaching, try using this method and let us know what you think!


If you're looking for more ways to help your athlete improve, check out our science backed workouts! We are offering stimulus pricing this season to ensure it is accessible to all athletes & programs! email us with any questions, we're here to help. support@cheerdistrict.com or text us 254-237-5757.


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